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Pursuit leads to 350 lbs of marijuana
ORANGE COUNTY - by Leslie Rangel
Deputies in Orange County tonight are trying to learn where a man got 350 pounds of marijuana they found in his car.
The discovery is the end result of a 115 mile an hour chase.
Orange County has nearly doubled its drug arrests in less than six months.
Chances if you're driving along I-10 you're probably sharing the road with a drug transporter.
Criminals don't always get caught, but Orange County narcotics officers are doing their best to stop them.
"It's hard to detect it at times but when you get a good roll and you get a good team together as this groups been working, it's like a domino effect and as they start getting one they get another," Clint Hodgkinson with the Orange County Sheriff's office says.
This afternoon, deputies spotted this black Toyota van going Eastbound on Interstate ten, deputies pulled over driver for changing lanes without a turn signal, but he didn't stop.
He gunned his van up and reached speeds of up to one hundred fifteen miles an hour.
"It appeared he might have been even on the phone trying to make some phone calls as they were trying to get him pulled over and as some other deputies entered the scene ahead of him he realized he might as well give up so he pulled over," Hodgkinson said.
This is what deputies found when they looked inside the van, three hundred fifty pounds of bundled marijuana.
"It was quite a bit, it filled up the back of his van, it's probably a hundred thousand or more maybe 200 thousand dollars worth of marijuana," Hodgkinson says.
Its the Orange County narcotic's department's one hundred fifty eighth arrest since January, already much more than the one hundred thirty for all of last year.
Why the increase in arrests? One reason, the department has brought in new recruits.
"Anytime you bring new people into a position, it just rejuvenates blood," Hodgkinson said.
They say the men who come in are used to dealing with petty street crimes and they bring fresh ideas for those already on the narcotics team.
"They get somebody new to it who shows and interest, it enthuses them and motivates them and wants them to get out and do a lot more just like they used to," Hodgkinson said.
Taking drugs off the streets one stop at a time.
The suspect is in the Orange County jail tonight.
He's charged with evading arrest and felony drug possession.
There was no one else riding with him in the van.